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Showing posts from 2017

Explaining market prices -- the new solution

You know a market is overheated when traders/brokers are looking for new metrics to justify the stratospheric prices of stocks, in the '00 it was "clicks" remember those -- its like saying "we lose money on every sale, but will make it up on volume!"  Anyway, some brokers that I can of respect have decided that the standard p/e is no longer a good measure (considering we are at historical highs -- or very near there) and where companies profitability is also a historical high levels -- these things have a way of returning to the mean!

However, if your job is to sell the market, then you find GAAP adjusted models, or using future statements as good metrics.  There are a number of ways to show that the market is not yet fully valued.

However, as a prudential investor the rule has to hold -- if it looks expensive it probably is expensive; better to leave some money on the table than being steamrolled out of the market.

Electric cars everywhere!!!

Ok so Germany, France and China have all announced the end of the internal combustion engine.  Needless to say that the American twitter's sphere has been agoog about that change, once again missing the point:

What are you going to do with an electric car in Florida?-- the answer is the same as a gasoline one -- not be able to use it when it runs out of juice...  The usual issues, there are not enough charging station, or that the electricity comes from coal/nuclear etc etc.  Again missing the point!

Because the same people who are against the introduction of electric cars would have (did) voice the same issue with the internal combustion engine...look how wrong they were.

Part of the problem is that people's view of the world is static, they cannot conceive that the wold will change, and now they don't remember not having a computer in their shirt pocket...

The Europeans know that the electric grid is at an inflection point as is battery technology, and factor of massive …

Bank of Canada raises rates!

Colour me pink, I wrote a few days ago that there are no barriers to central banks tightening considering the total absence of inflation (wages) where as asset prices are into the stratosphere.  Well this morning the bank of Canada raised rates by 0.25% --

BOC statement reveals that according to [Steven] Poloz [Governor of the BoC], "removal of some of the considerable monetary policy stimulus in place is warranted" given stronger than expected economic performance while adding that "future monetary policy decisions are not predetermined" and will be guided by economic data and financial-market developments as they "inform the outlook for inflation."
The short term impact is that the Canadian dollar rose by 3c within a few minutes of the announcement.  The market was of the view that the CAD was a one way sure bet towards weakness. I still think that the trend is weakness (for the CAD) it could be that they are just the first to move (not unheard).  Germa…

100, 500 year flooding (which actually occurs just about every three years)

There's been a lot of information from the US government about the floods that have afflicted Houston.  To give you a sense of proportion -- the weight of the water in Houston, lower land levels by it was a lot of water.

The 100 and 500 benchmarks are used to illustrate a point that in any one year there is a 1% and a 0.2% probability that there will be a certain specified flooding level.  It doesn't mean that it will not happen every other year (which is the case now).

The model making these prediction makes no assumption about how often this will happen, but how often in a year this will happen (1% chance).  Of course all this stuff is based on assumption -- that can be wrong.

If the weather patterns change -- then the assumptions on the amount of rain by each storm has to be revised.  The problem is that the "right" has been using these 100 years and 500 years as a reason to do nothing -- while at the same time stoping any analysis as to climate change.


Trump's tax trial balloon -- cutting taxes to the middle class for the 1% and corporation!

The idea that the administration will cut 401k deductions and cut the ability of tax payer to exclude , as income, the taxes they have paid to the states, are almost certainly complete B.S.  This would be tantamount to raising the taxes on the middle class to give to the 1% and to corporation -- this would kill the GOP's 2020 prospect -- dead!

The removal of deduction for state income taxes is clearly a little "Fu#k You" to all the democrats states -- its not the red states that will suffer from that since state taxes tend to be lower -- although the red states are by far the biggest beneficiary of the largess of the Federal government...something to remember!  It would be tantamount to a declaration of war with NY, California, Washington, New Jersey and Connecticut (to name but a few).

Taxing the 401k at the source (rather than when people retire) is impractical, it could become a huge windfall for those who've already retired (yeah I get it -- if you are 70 you are…

Crystal ball time; will I get it wrong...again!

First let me be very honest, by crystal ball has been remarkably out of wack.

I got Greece wrong -- I don't know what the ECB had on Greek leaders but it was enough to get them to back down from leaving the Euro/ECB.  The consequences for the country and its citizen has been dire!  Unemployment is still very high, retiree are still suffering from massive cuts to their pensions.  The system has broken downThankfully young Greeks with some language skills have been able to leave the countryBrexit:  Although I though there was some very good reasons for Britain to leave Europe the reason's my compatriots decided to leave were for jingoistic reasonsSterling has so far done rather wellThe economy has not collapsed -- its even growing againThe Euro:  She strength of the Euro; now around 119 to the greenback is unsettling insofar that it shows a greater confidence in Europe, than in America -- who's currency has been rather weak -- against everything except the Canadian dollar.  I…

Not being prepared: Its a feature of the American System (update)

[Update:  A good friend made the following comment earlier this week:  "50 inches of rain is 50 inches of rain -- whatever you do, what ever you plan, you don't plan for 50 inches of rain.  Despite that the water evacuation system for the city of Houston works as planned... but 50 inches of rain is 50 inches of rain, even with the best planning there will be massive flooding.  Houston is ridiculously flat, there is simply no technology (or even green spaces) that can deal with 50 inches of rain"]

Last Friday I friend was flying to central America via Houston -- as NOAA was announcing that Harvey (which made land fall as a cat 4 hurricane) was approaching the coast of Texas, and where Houston, although not at the centre of the storm, was on the leading edge.

United the airline that was routing her via Houston would not change her flight, that as long as the airport was not closed -- they would continue to route passenger via that airport.  The business of flying passenger…

A 1000 Cuts -- revisted

Several months ago I wrote that the ending (effective rather than legal) would be the results of a 1,000 cuts; none of the issue serious in themselves, but together they would kill Trump's presidency.  Clearly, Trump is a loud mouth that cannot stay away from Twitter -- to say that his inauguration crowd were larger than that of Obama -- well in fact destroying his first ever news cycle with that (in fact this lasted almost a week), was telling.

What I could not (no one could) predict is that 99% of the cuts were self inflicted!  You may be a racist idiot but you still understand that equating neo-nazi and far right fascist organization with anti-fascist organization is not the same kettle of fish!  Yet, in Trump's mind those who want to exclude people based on ethnicity have the same moral rights that those who preach inclusion.

Even if you are a racist (and there is little doubt now that Trump is just that) as a politician you know what can and cannot be said -- granted tha…

Hatians fleeing the USA...what?

The images at certain Quebec/NY border crossing are not on the scale of what you see in war zones where "the people" are fleeing advancing armies, and America's right wing may be ridiculing the whole endeavour but it remains a powerful image that blacks are fleeing the it what you want, the change in US immigration policy -- a fallout of the ending of Obama's open arm gesture to Haiti following the earthquake of 2010!

Quebec  is obviously a natural destination for Haitians; obviously the idea of living in the land of "gold and honey"  aka the United States of America has come to an end for many of them.  They are not going to a more "natural destination" that is Quebec, where the already very large Haitian population and the language commonality are important factors.

Still black people fleeing the USA is a powerful image.  So far its a small number (in total over the last 10 days it has been somewhat around 4 to 5 thousands.  However, I…

Externalities, Prediction and the Reality of the future!

The events of the last week, with Trump saying that he's getting ready to be serious with Iran, and it turns out two days ago, with North Korea (apparently most Americans think that North Korea is in Canada...).

Two important externalities that may (or may not) affect the global economy!  The issue arose when meeting a new client (yeah) this morning and reviewing the world at large.  Two years ago we discussed his possible investment in the US retail sector -- while the numbers were still "ok" the underlying factors were not.  My point at the time was that the retail landscape was changing -- the internet was/is modifying shopping behaviours and this increases investor risk.

Externality 1  Internet shopping:  Most people don't understand risk adjusted returns; they get the difference between government bonds, but even there, they have limits (Portugal is not the same as the US government).  Looking at this real estate play (in retrospect) would have generated a 7.5% t…

Economic growth Canada Vs. USA

Canadians look and sound (mostly) like Americans.  To a Canadian to be referred to as an American is a huge insult (well maybe not that big, but we are always concerned with foreigners hating Americans...why take a chance!).  Anyway, while the rest of the world suffered from America's mortgage binge of 2008, few in Canada were affected -- excluding my old firm.  So when the world went crazy, Canada just slowed down a bit.  Canadian banks had to use the liquidity of the Bank of Canada, and its (the BoC) balance sheet grew, but within a few quarters that liquidity was fully repaid.  For Canadian banks this was an opportunity to shop for talent south of the border, with great success for some (thinking of you RBC, BMO) and less so for others (CIBC, TD and NBC).

Canada's economy slowed a bit, as oil prices dipped as did commodities but the people's principal asset (their houses) hardly faltered, it has been a constant upswing in Canadian house price with only a brief slowdown…

On the bright side he's trying something new

lets see:

Hire Scaramucci, Hire John Kelly fire Scaracucci -- 10 days it took to go from "Hey I work at the White House" to "Hey can I get my job back at Eximbank".  He's after session

Start a fight with the GOP and insiste that the Senate should do nothing else than kill Obamacare!  He said that he would sign anything, just anything that is put on his desk.  The reality of politics is killing Trump's agenda.  If he starts a fight with the Senate then what?  His projects were:

"Kill I say kill Obamacare" -- I suspect that this is personal rather than philosophicalKill the Muller Russia investigationTax reformInfrastructure projectReform immigration -- he suggested a point system (that's what we use in Canada) Aside from that he wants to make America great again, which is a good goal to have assuming he can.  I though it was idiotic of him to suggest that the stock market's rise is due to him, what happens when the stock market falls...oh ye…

Donald Trump Jr. and the Russian -- Game, set and match


Whatever the Russians wanted to achieve in the American electoral system part of it has been a total success.  Is Trump (son) a bought and paid for shill for Putin, of course not.  Was he a fuc&ng moron to go to a meeting with Russians (connected to Putin) to get dirt on Clinton -- Yeah!  Was Manafort a moron too (the bate was just too attractive -- Trump had asked the Russians  -- on live TV to find dirt on Clinton)?

Putin somehow destroyed the legitimacy of Trump (not that he was seen as very legitimate) by playing the Russian game of "look here, find the Cheese".  Granted Trump is probably the least qualified holder of the Oval office, on the other hand he's exactly what Ryan and McConnell were dreaming about -- a president that will sign any legislation he just doesn't care.  Trump is not that different from the other 7-9 Republican candidates (remember those). They all held similar views -- if anything Trump was at the left (better healthcare, would no…

1/6th of the economy gets a 120 minutes debate, that the GOP then filibusters for 120 minutes

The seriousness of the Senate, in fact of America's entire elected body was un jeopardy last night when the Senate Republicans drafted a new version of the health bill between noon and 10 pm -- to then reveal the health care bill for a midnight vote!

Can American electoral system be more broken?  I am sure that this morning, the blame game will start in earnest; Trump will blame the Democrats -- after all they got 120 minutes to review the bill, but were not allowed to ask any question or make any amendement -- clearly their fault if the bill failed!

This morning Mike Huckabee suggested in a Tweet that the 17th amendment should be abolished -- that Senators be elected not by the legislature, as it had in the past, but by the people (BTW this is not really unusual -- in fact the French Senate elections are by elected official in each district).  Still, the GOP's view is if we don't get what we want lets change the rules -- never for one minute thinking of the impact of th…

The Value/Price of research -- an update


I had a very pleasant dinner with a very good friend -- a big cheese in one of Canada premier investment bank -- that has Canada's largest research far.  I mentioned, en passant, that Nomura had set an annual price of $120,000 for its gold plated research, and that I was thinking that few would pay that kind of money.  He disagreed fundamentally.

In his view, research is not about paper but about access, access to special conference where every American tech CEO is present (you never hear about those conferences -- private and no journalists) they give "prime" investors the CEO's thinking -- that's privileged information (but legal).  Usually these conferences (Goldman has the best) are limited to 50/100 investors -- their top clients which is where the problem arises, in a sense, there are a lot more than 50/100 real investors, and for them this information simply doesn't exist!

My very good friend only though of his 50 best clients - thos…

Financed was borned yesterday -- 4,000 ago a contract was written with default interest...priceless

Ending obsolescence

Obsolescence is a feature of the 20th and 21st century manufacturing process, but does our society require obsolescence.  The reason the question is intersting is a relatively recent TED talk with Elon Musk where we spoke about his new solar roofs -- one of the main features was that because the tiles are made of glass they don't wear out.  Essentially a solar roof made by Musk's company could outlast the house on which it has been installed.

Modern cars have hundreds of moving parts (on average 1,500) a Tesla model S around 45...The engine has one moving part, the wheels and breaks account for a bunch more, trunks, door handle, steering wheel and pedals -- things that don't really wear out anyway.

Musk's two main products (cars and solar roofs) seem to have very very long lifespan.  The often told story is that the first light bulbs were made to last for every, but consumer society allowed manufactures to make them disposable -- true but not for the reason most people…

Trump's failure to appoint

This is not original but it does explain why Trump is having such a hard time appointing people to serve his administration:  people just don't want to work for him!

Trump fired Comey more than 2 months ago, and the White House said they would nominated a new head of the FBI within days, it took nearly 6 weeks to find a willing candidate and as far as I know the confirmation process has not even started...considering that Congress is in recess until September. That means that to replace one of the most visible figures in US law enforcement will take more than 7 months.  Its important to note that its not Congress that has been slow, the process is driven by the White House, they're not sending anything to Congress (although in Trump's reality its still the fault of Congress).  By this time, Obama had more than 200 posts filed in 2009 -- its even more for Bush and Clinton.  Trump, the number is 51, that it.  Right now there are only two or three names in the pipeline and Co…

Italeave: No longer a a taboo subject

These are the forces at work in Italy right now:

The path to Italeave is a difficult one, requiring a referendum and a constitutional change, but trouble is brewing on a huge number of fronts simultaneously:

The Italian banking system is insolventAnother refugee crisis is brewing (this time via boats from Libya)Italy’s youth unemployment is a whopping 37%The ECB is the buyer of only resort for Italian bondsItaly’s debt to GDP ratio is over 130% to the consternation of Eurozone officialsThe global recovery is extremely long in the toothItaly made no progress during the recoveryThe topic of Italeave is no longer taboo

Any number of things could start a chain reaction making Italeave look good to a majority of Italian voters.  Political parties tend to follow (from the front), 2/3 of all Italians political parties are pro exit, in a sense the negociations between Europe and the UK are going to be key here.  Italy accounts for 12% of Europe's GDP and is Europe's third largest bond …

Who are you calling a homo Sapien...I am no homo!

This was a line from an 1980's movie about a "meat head" who is called by a New York smart ass a Homo Sapiens...hilarity (and a fight) ensues!  Its the same for some un-name trump supporter who referred to Clinton supporters an a sign as "Morans".

Yesterday was America's birthday -- literally it marks the day America declared independence "and the church bells of Philadelphia were ringing", against the reign of "mad" king George. Now, NPR, that hot bed of leftist crazies has for almost 30 years read out the declaration of independence, and this year, I guess having a bit of fun with the twitter madness that has overtaken the oval office has decided to tweet the whole thing 140 character at a time...

Part of the declaration of independence refers the a people's right to abolish a government and form a new one...some true Trump supporter thought that this was a dig at Trump -- being completely unaware that it referred to King George...

Florida: Parents can now object to the school curriculum

Parents who object to the concept of evolution or global warming can now make sure that their kids will never hear such things!  This is the new law past last Friday in Florida.  The ideal is to shape the minds of young Americans to a reality where God is central and where science is banished to the sidelines. It used to be more complicated, and getting Harry Potter out of school libraries was a major victory for the Christian right (no joke) they also objected to Catcher in the Rye

The idea seams to be removing anything "objectionable" from the young minds so that they get the party line early -- now American education (second most expensive after Luxemburg) and which ranks the US in 30th position in reading, math and comprehension, is rather bad at doing what its suppose to do.  Needless to say that top schools still teach important facts, but there too the rot is spreading.  Just last week a national TV presenter assumed that an aircraft accident had occurred because of t…

Trump's weird vocabulary

What's with Trump these days.  You read his Tweets and every other word seems to make little sense.  Is there something afoot here?  It is evident that Trump suffers from ADHD -- its been proven time and time again that he cannot focus on a subject for more than a few minutes at a time -- his calls with world leaders are often substance less.  Its not so much that he doesn't get stuff he just cannot focus.

His latest, which is to accuse Obama in the Russia election interference is probably the worse idea he's had (excluding the firing of Comey and the hiring of Flynn) he's now recognized that there was election tampering -- that got HIM elected!  Until recently, the party line was that there was no Russian interference -- now the leader of the free world say there was:  Who benefited -- Trump so he's scored another own goal, for no good reason, again.

Listing to his speeches there is something going on with his vocabulary, its shrinking.  Trump knows his audience&#…

Lying is the simplest solution!

The White House talking heads have been selling TrumpCare to the public and have simply resorted to lying.  Simple math tell you that if you cut a few trillions from Medicare then the service provided will have to be less than what it is today!  Its a little like the decision to allocate US$ 8 billion to people with preexisting conditions sure its a lot of money ( but its no where near enough for the reality of a country with 330 million inhabitants) -- the equivalent of US$ 23.00 per person.

The news story is that premium will go down (no mention of deductibles or exclusions) for self insured Americans and that Medicare recipients will not be affected (true insofar as the changes to Medicare are slated to be in place by 2021 only... after the next presidential elections).  In a sense, Trump and his allies are playing the game well, they will be able to tell their constituents that right now there is no change to their premium, and that it may even reduce -- not mentioning what is and…

February 14, 2018 -- mark your calendar

So over the weekend i was doing a bit of surfing the interweb to find on Zero Hedge, the Trump supporter financial news service, the date on which the end of the upsurge in the financial market will end...You got it, Valentine's day of 2018 -- unfortunately, ZH failed to share why that particular day was going to be the day of reckoning -- but in their world a massive correction would start on that day.

You got to wonder how they can predict the "end of the world" so very accurately!  I for one am amazed by their ability -- turns out its not really ZH but some hedge fund (i've never heard of) that predicts that day, as the beginning of the end.

Personally, I suspect that some trader at "unknown" hedge fund has some shorts that are about to expire on or around March 1, 2018, and is looking to boost the value of these out of the money positions -- but lets just say that some trader has some rather large put options that expire in 6 months -- and these are way…

Euro 120,000.00

That's the estimated cost of Nomura's "Platinum" Research!  Your firm pays US$ 200k per annum to hear all the best bits out of Nomura -- granted I like Bob Janjuah, he's not only a friend but a brilliant tactician.   Still $200k seems a lot.

Obviously, the real change in the analyst business in Europe (as the Jan 3, 2018 rules are to take effect) is going to have one massive impact -- the business of analyst is going to shed about 95% of its workforce.

I've said this before, most research is useless -- it used to be that you would get good data analytics -- but these days you get the same stuff of Bloomberg's basic plan so there is really no reason for that. Analyst get nothing more than you can, should you choose to listen to CEO's pronouncements, and read the company's filings.  Finally, and this is the kicker, most investors are closet indexers anyway (thinking of you Fidelity...).  So the impact of the new rule will be a massive reduction on t…

Oil Prices around $43...what's going on?

Oil prices are falling -- just as the "driving season" kicks off nobody knows what's going on.  Barclays has a novel idea -- America's illegal crack down is causing demand for gasoline to fall.  ICE (the US agency in charge of finding illegal immigrants) is hard at work, with routine stops that find illegal immigrants, they in turn have reduce their travel by car dramatically (its more complicated to stop people boarding a bus -- ICE still needs probable cause...)

In Western states illegals account for a surprisingly large percentage of the total population (between 3-5%).  Some dispute these figures, but then they cannot think of anything else either.  Equally intersting are farms in Iowa facing massive labor shortage -- around 75% of all "pickers" were illegal immigrants -- farms became a massive rally point for ICE to find illegal immigrants, the impact is that Iowa farms are facing a massive labor shortage and no idea how to fill the vacuum.  The labor …

The Middle East an observation!

Trump's first Tour was a catalyst for many of those he met during his little jaunt in the Middle East and Europe.  The Europeans came out convinced that the American President understood absolutely nothing of the NATO alliance and was basically a Mercantile who viewed the world through 19th century trading rules (we export everything and you import nothing), so that we create jobs at home -- "beggar thy neighbour" policies.  The fact that Trump would not re-iterate NATO's article 5 is further evidence of his stubbornness and his lack of education (he did reiterate in speech at the White House -- but the damage was done).

In the Middle East he signed a $ 100 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia -- that was no such deal!  It was a bunch of MOU some dating back to 2015 -- signed by Trumps' greatest enemy:  Obama!  When Saudi Arabia felt they could browbeat Qatar in towing the line, they embargoed the tiny state (for the second time in a decade) and Trump took credit.…

Redux: The death of the middle man

In the endless list of things that go bang in the night, in 2011 I wrote about my experience buying a new shower head, the comment is here.  The end of shopping was already foretold in the stars.  However, and I mentioned this before, it is as bad to be early than it is to be late!!!

In a nut shell what happened is that through the internet I was able to save 60% of the cost of purchasing a new shower head by going on the internet!  First contacting my plumber who kindly told me that I should call the distributor directly only to find a true 20th century operation; 30 days delivery and cash only upfront.

Instead I bought the thing on the internet it was delivered two days later in my office.

Now if you live in a big city you face the consequences of shopping on a daily basis, driving, finding an expensive parking spot, and maybe not finding what you are really seeking...on the internet, its all done in the home, no need for excursion you buy everything from your living room.  I'm…

United Kingdom elections: How to blow a 24 point lead in 8 weeks

Theresa May's decision 8 weeks ago will haunt her and her party for years to come, for while she had a thin majority, she still had a majority.  As one newspaper said it, the first problem was to make the election about personality; when Theresa may has none! 
The hubris of a 24 point lead led to a poorly drafted, full of error manifesto, that was plainly mean!  End of life care, if you own a house the NHS would get that to pay off your health "debts".  Needless to say that for a majority of Tory voters this was not a winner!  
The number of time May seemed unprepared for relatively softball question still amazes everyone. She did, with the opposition, a town hall meeting and she was poorly prepared.
Also the answer to the problems with Brexit is not to say: "Brexit is brexit"
The Tories deserve to loose, granted Labor doesn't deserve to win, their leader is worse than May with numerous stupid statements that can only make governing harder.
Europe -- well t…

Qatar: is this the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Most will remember that the first world war "the Great War" if there was ever such a thing, started when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist.  Honestly, the pump was primed long before the Archduke was killed, but it is generally recognized that it was the final straw that lead to a war -- "to end all wars".

What is going on in the Middle East is equally strange and creating some strange behaviors.  There is no doubt that Qatar (a tiny gas rich country) has been saying and doing things outside the norm, the PLO and Israel both had offices there, and because it shares gas fields with Iran it is far less of an enemy of Iran (Shia) than is Saudi Arabia (Sunni), the conflict for leadership of the region has been on-going for decades (BTW this is not the first time that things got ugly between Qatar and SA).

Trump hand seems to be involved by strongly supporting the Sunni (aka Saudi Arabia) and making comments about Iran and the Shia t…

Brexit -- the cost

The EU has been rather adamant that the UK will pay a very steep price for exiting the European Union.  In fact, requiring that the UK pay for everything.  The figure could be anywhere between Euro 60 billion and Euro 200 billion.  In effect, the EU has asked all its institutions to create a list of demands -- like a divorce, the demands can (will) be outrageous, because if you don't ask, you certainly will not get.

How the whole thing plays out is a different story.  There is no doubt that the EU wants its cake and to eat it too!  The UK has the same problem, of course its not about "cash" rather is about access to markets and ability of British National to travel freely within Europe.  The Ft this morning indicated that the UK will need to negotiate more than 700 treaties with various countries over various issues (so lots of work there).
How all this plays out is dependent on many factors:
(1) British Elections:
This morning the worse possible news for Theresa May, sh…

California single payer solution will cost 400% of state budget?

now that's clearly BS since just north of California there is a state (British Columbia). That has universal health care, and the cost is, per capita, just a little less than half a f what it cost in California!

That's the truth!  Ho do we get an explosion in cost, you don't simply a hit piece by a dishonest hack. Who is pushing a line. The fun thing is that not only are wages lower in Canada, but so are ancillary corporate costs, since "the state". Assumes the cost of health care.

Just though it t was funny, that someone would write such BS and that no one would say anything

The Euro is on fire!

Over the past 3 months the Euro has exploded (8%) against the US dollar, moving from 1.04 to 1.12 in the space of only 90 days, this is a massive movement in the European currency and is difficult to understand or explain.

First, is the Euro improving or is the dollar falling off a cliff?  These may seem to be the same thing but they are not; looking at other Euro pairs (Yen, CAD, Peso) and you get different result;

The Mexican Peso -- third most traded currency (I know who knew) is looking at a price move of nearly 7% over the past 6 months, but of course the Peso was seriously devalued in 2016 -- a reflection of all things Trump -- since then the Peso has returned to its long term trend (slow 3-4% annual devaluation to reflect the higher inflation rate).

The Yen:  After the November election the Yen took a fall from 104 to 118 against the USD, this is slowly reversing itself towards 110/11 (seems to be an appreciation trend

The CAD:  has remained largely unchanged around 1.3 its got…

Anti vaxxer and Chem trail -- what?

I've been reading a number of articles of late on the anti vaccination movement in the US  The strangest aspect is that most anti-vaccine people are well educated and rich.  Where did these ideas come from, how come it remains at the forefront of discussion (mostly in the US)?  The same for Chem Trails -- that's the idea that jet "mix" in their exhausts chemical to do something -- bottom line whatever they are doing its very very dangerous...

How can reasonably smart people believe this utter bullshit?  I mean think about it, it makes no more sense than Pizzagate -- that's the story that Clinton and friends were running a child abduction (I think) center in the basement of a DC pizzeria (called Comet) so certain that this as fact that one crazy guy even went to investigate (with his long gun) -- and didn't believe the owner when he told him that the pizzeria had no basement.  apparently shots were fired.

All these stories have one thing in common, Facebook --…

Greece the continuing saga

This morning, the talks between Greece, the EU and the IMF broke down again.  There is no panic in the air, because everyone knows that it will be resolved...eventually.

I say this with far less conviction than in the past.  Until last year, when the last debt renegotiations took place there was a sense of doom, now not so much.  It may have to do with the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU, that Greece's exit is no longer such an issue, it could be that everyone believes that a deal will happen, at the 11th hour as usual.

The true cynic believe that the whole thing will be wrapped up once Merkel has won her elections in late September -- Greece has a debt payment due in July,  which it cannot repay, its economy has sunk back into recession, but there is simply no sense of market panic.

So to recap; for the past 4 years Greece has been going from nowhere to bad, recession, mild recovery and it can expect more of the same for the next 20 years.  The youth of the country w…

Death by a thousand cuts

I had an epiphany this morning, reading, again about Trump's many travails -- own goals and simple stupidity.  The troubled White House is leaking like a sieve and that means that everything that Trump does will become part of the national conversation.

I mean we know he records CSPAN on his 60 inch TiVo powered television so that he can watch the blow by blow of Congress with comments -- who in the world needs to know that, except it shows one thing, the President is not really minding the store, he's acting like a Monday morning quarterback.  He should be making decisions not judging the decisions of others.  If it is true, that the Israeli information on bomb in laptops was a "Do not share", and he did anyway, then it shows his carelessness.  Or the fact that the White House was "tricked" in allowing a photographer from TASS into the Oval office (while the US press was excluded) must have amused Putin to no end.  However, it shows a White House that is u…


So the President decided to share top secret information with the Russians, so far nothing illegal has been done, stupid maybe, but not illegal, literally the President decides what is and what is not secret. That's the positive side -- there is no crime here!

Now the negative;

(1) If the Post's story is correct (note: Trump confirmed that it was) this secret information was given to the American intelligence community -- with a do not share request.  That country will now reduce the amount of information it shares with the American government.  At the very least the NSA/CIA and other acronyms will be much more careful it what they share with the President.  That's bad, because less information is bad -- especially when people are out to get you.

(2) Trump asked three of his future ex-employees to go out on and say that Trump did not share any secret information -- and that the Post got the story wrong...12 hours later Trump tweets that "it's true, I shared confid…

You go away from the weekend...and this happens!

So oil is back flirting with $50/bbl...again.  Apparently there was a deal done over the weekend to restrict supply...again, and so the market dutifully went up... again.  The stock market that had been a northingburger (yeah low vol but not much overall activity) is up nearly 1%, on a news lite day.

Straying a bit into politics, I note that Trump has been staying away from Twitter this weekend, I thing, but maybe he's been too busy remember all the names of the countries and people he will be meeting in his upcoming, golf free, foreign trip.  Historically, Canada has been the first port of call of any new president, this year, not so much, and Canadians (starting with the Trudeau) seem perfectly happy that Trump is going elsewhere -- reduce the police budget for 2017!  The absence of enthusiasm for Trump's possible visit to Canada, mirrors that UK's recent "rescheduling" of Trump's long announced visit to the UK, there too the government decided that his visi…